Marine biologists get free printing services.

Los Cabos, Mexico

April 16, 2012

I’m about to depart on a boat trip with Rare, a Symposium at Sea to discuss how to solve the problem of coastal overfishing fish in developing countries, and thereby ensure food security for the 1 billion people who depend on fish for their primary source of protein (source/infographic). This is a topic I persistently ponder in seclusion, and I am looking forward to hearing what others have to say on the topic. There are about 35 participants – scientists, philanthropists, resource managers, business leaders, policymakers, conservation practitioners – gathered to discuss the creation of replicable, scalable, community-based programs for sustainably managing fishing.

Arriving at the Hilton Los Cabos Beach Resort felt like extreme luxury, but this is no pleasure cruise. The few hours of down time I had before the itinerary commenced were devoted to finishing up the reading assignments for the symposium.  Granted, I got to do my homework from a chaise on a beautiful beach, and making marginal notes on scientific articles makes me happy. Bikini clad nerdfest.

[Playing with new camera before heading out for beachy study hall.]

Speaking of scientific papers, I recently published one entitled “Trends, current understanding and future research priorities for artisanal coral reef fisheries research.” (More on that in a future blog post.) Thinking it germane to the Symposium I wanted to print a few copies to share, so I called down to the concierge, emailed him the article, and went down to pick up the 10 copies. The following conversation transpired as I was collating and stapling:

Concierge: Can you sign here for the printing charge?

Ayana: Yes, sure…. wow $72. That’s a lot.

Concierge: $0.30 a page. [Starts to look at my article….]

Ayana [Signing receipt]: That adds up quickly.

Concierge: Are you an oceanographer?

Ayana: Yes, I’m a marine biologist.

Concierge: [Picks up receipt, looks me in the eye, rips the receipt in half, grins.]

Ayana [Laughing]: Thank you very much.

Concierge: Are you a diver?

Ayana: Yes, are you?

Concierge: Yes, I am doing my divemaster certification now.

[We proceed to have a chat where he tells me all about his experiences diving around Baja, (including swimming with schools of mobula rays – so cool), and I tell him all about the trip I’m about to go on and the research in the paper he printed for me.]

Concierge: You are young to be a doctor. Good luck with your research.

Ayana [Laughing]: Thank you. Good luck with your divemaster certification. And here’s a copy of the paper for you. I’ll sign it since you ripped up my other signature. [Smile.]

Unforeseen perks of being a marine biologist. I thought that sort of thing only happened the movies.  As Captain Renault said in Casablanca, “It is a little game we play. They put it on the bill. I tear up the bill. It is very convenient.”